Ask a Question forum: Are There Any Tall Purple or Red Houseplants?

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Glasgow, Scotland
PanPlant
Mar 16, 2020 9:28 AM CST
Hello everyone,

been lurking on these pages for years getting advice, it's my most visited forum out there! Was hoping you kind people might be able to help me find a tall (hopefully up to 1.8m or so eventually) houseplant that is ideally purple or red leaved, but failing that maybe something with very prominent white variegation.

I'm basically looking for something to put between the monstera i have and the devil's ivy that will break up the colour. Ideally something with the red leaves of a red aglaonema, or if the purple or pink calatheas reached that size, oxalis triangularis, polka dot plant i love all these but they're tiny of course. I considered the red mambo ti, but the pink variegation only lasts a little on the new leaves. Same as the pink princess. I'm about to receive a purple colocasia but it's a bulb, could take many years to get big and they go dormant in the winter too and need cut to ground. I have a strobilanthes already on my other spot and its fuchsia undersides are beautiful and really do break up the greenness on that corner, so if no other suggestions come i could get a 2nd one of them but ideally something different would be exciting.

I've looked and amateur-researched for years with no luck, so maybe there is nothing like that out there but if there is I'm sure someone here will know! The room incidentally is bright but i can shade from direct sun.

Many thanks in advance!
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Mar 16, 2020 10:14 AM CST
Welcome!

I'm glad you finally joined. Talking with us is way more interesting than just lurking. Smiling

I can't think of anything you haven't covered but, maybe you need to think out of the box. How about a tower of several different plants?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Texas (Zone 8b)
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Galathiel
Mar 16, 2020 2:02 PM CST
How much light would the plant receive in the area you want to fill? That would also determine the choices available.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Mar 16, 2020 2:58 PM CST
I agree with @Galathiel and will add that most non-green plants require at least several hours of direct sunlight on their leaves each day.

Crotons, cane Begonias, Iresine, Coleus, and Dracaena Marginata 'Tricolor,' come to mind as possibilities. Purple Velvet and Purple Heart plants have nice color but would have to be used as hanging plants.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Glasgow, Scotland
PanPlant
Mar 16, 2020 4:52 PM CST
Hi everyone!

Many thanks for taking the time to help with your advice! The room has several south and south west facing windows, so is very bright but all have blinds should i need to protect from direct sun.

A tower of plants might be an option Daisy many thanks! I do prefer large leafed/tall plants but if it proves impossible I think i would prefer a tower to a big green plant. Also means I can have more plants:)

WillC, I've seen your name so many times all the years i was lurking here and learnt a lot from you already thanks!! So. I have 4 crotons (my favourite plant), i need something else:) Do coleus get that big? I just bought some seeds last week, they're new to me! If that wee coleus got massive I'd be in the happiest guy alive. I thought purple velvets and iresines stayed tiny too? Just going by the fact I've never seen images of them online in big forms. if I'm wrong that would be fantastic and solve me problem as all these are beautiful options. I'm not a big fan of the dracaena's leaves, their narrowness in particular (I hope this doesn't sound too fussy)

My other idea if no options work might be if possible to train up my purple heart with canes?? Has anyone tried it, its that crazy to get a 2 meter high purple heart?

If pics would help at all I can upload. Thanks again everyone
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Mar 17, 2020 8:35 AM CST
Welcome and thanks for your kind words.

Most any plant with a thick sturdy stem has the potential to grow tall. Admittedly, Coleus and Iresine are a bit of a stretch, but over time that can get moderately tall. Some might even say overgrown.

Theoretically, you could use stakes to prop up a Purple Heart but I don't think it will look very attractive. A moss pole could also be used, but they are very impractical indoors because the moss has the be kept damp at all times. Is using it as a hanging plant from above not an option? Purple Velvet (Gynura aurantiaca) is similar in growth habit to Purple Heart.

The difficulty is that there are very few red and purple plant species that will maintain their color indoors where light is greatly reduced. Perhaps there are others that don't come to my mind.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Glasgow, Scotland
PanPlant
Mar 17, 2020 9:15 AM CST
Hello again Will,

nice to hear from you again mate.

I've admittedly not been able to find any iresine out here, but it's only been on my radar the last 4 months so hopefully it might be available in the next 2 months here in the UK. I've now asked this question on another couple of forums, and given my borderline OCD approach to researching, and never having seen anything I might have to accept the tower of smaller plants on shelves/a plant stand, which definitely isn't a terrible consolation prize or anything, might even look nicer. i do really like a lot of coleus varieties so will be great to see a few in there along with other plants- the options for smaller herbaceous ones seems terrific. Even my crotons get very deep red on the window spots so light wise I think I should be good for pretty much anything. I do find it very interesting academically that there might be no really big ones. Perhaps my purple colocasia will prove me wrong, I'll be updating this post every year or so if I have any news in case anyone else searches for a similar topic.

Also many thanks for your advice on the purple heart- my gut feeling agrees that it would probably look weird on bamboo. I'll hopefully see it trail down a massive 70cm high pot I have waiting for it. if I definitely go for the smaller plants on a stand idea I might start another topic to pick your brains for that, and list my own discoveries of interesting foliage for indoors. I'll post a pic of the space too shortly!
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Mar 17, 2020 8:39 PM CST
How about Ficus elastica? Some of those have red or burgundy leaves and some are variegated. Or check out some Cordyline (Ti plants). I've mostly grown those outdoors, but during they winter they were inside and the color held fast. Both are going to like quite a bit of bright light.
Donald

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